This blog is an announcement for Ladies First – A women street art festival being organized by Wicked Broz and MRRWA.
We Need More Women on the Streets
In January of this year we undertook a week long trip across Rajasthan upto Agra with a couple of friends of our friends visiting us from abroad. There was Rikis DSantander, a street artist from Chile and Abigail a contemporary artist from New Zealand. We went mad clicking epic pictures of each other in all sorts of poses that one can imagine on the forts, palaces and on the streets. The compelling stories of those places made all the more epic.
However, something hit us a few days after this magical trip was over. Rikis said two things about the gullies of India. One – They were overcrowded (no surprise) and two – there are very few women in that crowd.
Not that we didn’t know that before. We’ve seen it all our life across the length and breadth of India. We also know why it is so. But maybe it is precisely because we know why it is so that this statement coming from a foreigner missiled into our brains. It maybe a cultural problem, it maybe the skewed sex ratio but this is the truth. Women everywhere are under-represented.
Ladies First Street Art
For months we had been planning with the Military Road Residents Welfare Association (MRRWA) a street art festival in Marol (the home of Wicked Broz). The observation by Rikis, gave it a new meaning.
Ladies First is a women street art festival. The first of its kind in India. The endeavor is to promote women street artists and in turn bring more women to the streets in India. Back to the basics dud! Represent! Hip hop!
We plan on growing this festival year on year and make it an international fixture. Very few (if any) street art festivals of such kind are hosted anywhere in the world. We plan to follow this up with more street art festivals and related activities in an area we are developing as Marol Art Village, Andheri. For years, we have been hosting graffiti artists from across the globe to paint here and the time has come for India to have its own Wynwood Art District. We are conducting regular graffiti workshops here. We are already in talks with one of the world’s leading graffiti festivals to come down to India and hope to conduct our own ‘The Great Indian Graffiti Jam’ soon. However, before everything else, Ladies First.
For the first version of our festival to be held from 25 Mar to 31 Mar, 7 brilliant female artists have come together.
A League of Extraordinary Ladies
Anpu is a well known name in the Indian Street Art scene having a worked on a number of projects for St+art and collaborated with her friends Ranjit Dahiya, Guess Who and InkBrushnMe. Lena McCarthy is from Boston and has been traveling across India for the past two months. She likes to combine floral themes with different subjects. Avantika Mathur who’s bringing all the boho vibes with her wherever she goes and using surrealism to convey her truth. Shirin, a solo traveler whose heart and art are both closest to nature. Kesar Khinvasara, a goddess of mandalas whose inspiration comes from the most basic element of drawing – a line. Ratna Singh whose style is all about bringing Warli art to the walls of the world. Abigail (Yeah, the same one we mentioned before) whose fresh, modern style has been a part of the first transgender art fest in Prayagraj.
All of us together hope to bring more power to the women on the streets, way beyond the walls of Marol and Mumbai.
Street Art for Everyone
What else we hope to do is to bring together leading figures in Indian Street art scene like Dedeepya Reddy (of Chal Rang De fame) to come and talk about women, art and their experiences. If you want to simply pick up a brush and get painting, we have street art workshops. If you want to just chill with us and come check out the scene, we got an art exhibition of participating artists work, films around street art and tours around Marol to show you how graffiti has been taking over the streets for the past few years.
Wicked Broz has sprung from hip hop. We can never forget that. So in the spirit of that, we’ll also be hosting a cypher on the last day of the festival calling out all b-girls and female rappers!
Through Ladies First we hope to change the gender representation and inclusion in the scene a little bit, to push the needle against what is considered taboo. You see, nothing is a waste of time ladies and gentleman. Shaitani bina bachpan choro, zindagi bekar hai dude.
Sponsors and Partners
The festival is currently being sponsored by contributions from a number of residents of Marol and organizations aligned to our cause namely Covema Filaments and Kokuyo Camlin. Waste Warriors is helping us organize the Waste Walk during the festival, Art Lounge is preparing hampers for artists and workshop participants. Red Bull are helping us organize the Bgirl cypher.